Happy New Year From TBOJ!

on Thursday, December 31, 2009   10 comments


I'm up in Pittsburgh right now, but I put together this little package of outtakes for you all to enjoy! The Weekend Preview won't happen this week, because there's not much to report, and I'm staying in a cabin without internet. (I drove 20 minutes to find a coffee shop...) Expect the box office rankings to look pretty much the same as last weekend, but everything will dip an average of 30%. Anyway, 2009 was awesome, and I hope you have a happy and safe New Year's celebration!

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25 Film Trends Of The 2000s

on Wednesday, December 30, 2009   15 comments


Can you believe we're already at the end of the decade?  The 2000s, which have taken up exactly half of my life, have been the source of some amazing movies and some amazing box office performances.  I'm not really the kind of person that would make a list of the best ten movies of the decade.  It's just not my style.  I don't really criticize- I analyze.  Thus, I thought it might be interesting to look at how the world of movies has changed over the last ten years, since every decade has its own trends and its own style.  In celebration of a great year here at The Box Office Junkie, this List Wednesday, I wanted to do something ambitious.  Therefore, allow me to present you with my longest list ever: 25 Film Trends Of The 2000s.  Check out the list below, and then share your thoughts in the comments!

1. May = Summer
In 2001, The Mummy Returns flirted with the idea of establishing the first weekend in May as prime box office real estate, opening with $68 million.  However, it wasn't until 2002, when Spider-Man shocked analysts with a then-record $114 million opening, that Hollywood officially declared the first weekend of May as the start of the Summer at the movies.  Since then, the slot is reserved for only the most high-profile releases, like X2: X-Men United, Spider-Man 3, Iron Man, and... er... Van Helsing.

2. People Are Losing Interest The Oscars
The Academy Awards have dwindled in popularity during the 2000s.  The average viewership for the Academy Awards in the 1990s was 45.7 million viewers.  In the 2000s, viewership sank to an average of 39.3 million viewers, and they hit a record low in 2008, with just 31.76 million viewers tuning in.  To me, it's obvious why this is happening.  The Academy is out of touch with society!  Voters are old, liberal, Hollywood curmudgeons, and The Oscars have quickly become an overly politicized, pretentious affair that seem to be more influenced by buzz than anything else.

3. Studios Realize That Women Go To The Movies
It took a while for Hollywood to understand the sheer buying power of the collective population of women, but they've officially come around.  Similar to the way men are targeted with action films, during the last half of the decade, instead of the typical slate of romances and romantic comedies, big event films like Sex And The City, Twilight, and Mamma Mia! have targeted women almost exclusively and found great box office results. 

4. Awful Spoofs
When Scary Movie debuted in 2000, it was legitimately funny.  The film actually spoofed horror movies, and it was fresh, funny, and creative.  Much less funny were the endless other "spoofs," like Scary Movie 2, Scary Movie 3, Scary Movie 4, Date Movie, Epic Movie, Superhero Movie, Meet The Spartans, Dance Flick, Disaster Movie, and Transylmania.  Increasingly, these became nothing more than cheap, slapped together, tasteless flicks that could earn a quick buck.  Leaving their themes and their wit by the wayside, each of these films is nothing more than series of poorly produced reshoots of recently popular movie scenes.  Why not just call them all Movie Movie?

5. Traditional Animation Replaced by CG
When Toy Story burst onto the scene in 1995, computer generated animation was absolutely revolutionary.  During the late 90s, Pixar had the CG animation market cornered.  However, by the 2000s, rival studios had developed their technology enough to attempt their own CG animations.  Ten years later, CG animation is pretty much the only type of animation we see.  CG films are incredibly popular family destinations, and franchises like Shrek, Ice Age, Toy Story, and Madagascar are massively popular worldwide. Has traditional 2D animation totally fallen by the wayside?  For now, the answer remains unclear, but the somewhat underwhelming performance of Disney's classically animated The Princess And The Frog isn't helping its cause.

6. Higher Ticket Prices
From 1990-1999, the average ticket price increased $0.75, from $4.23 to $5.08.  From 2000-2008, it increased from $5.39 to $7.18, a price bump of $1.79!  Indeed, the soaring ticket prices are certainly a reason for concern.  In suburbs, a ticket will cost you about $9-10 dollars, and in big cities, tickets run for $12-15 dollars.  Add in the additional cost of 3D glasses, which an increasingly common factor, and you find yourself shelling out some serious dough just for an hour and a half long movie.  I attended a matinee showing of Avatar the other day, just so I could save some money, and it still cost me $13.75!

7. Super Hero Movies
Spider-Man, Batman, Iron Man, Superman, The Hulk, X-Men, The Punisher, Ghost Rider, The Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and many other famous comic book super heroes received film adaptations in the 2000s, and most of these films were extremely successful.  Spider-Man jump started the trend in 2002, earning an astounding $403 million, and in 2008, The Dark Knight set a new high for the genre, with a $534 million total.  It should be noted that the heroes of this decade weren't the invincible, flawless, proper heroes of yesteryear.  Super heroes in the 2000s had problems that made them accessible to people.  Guilt, crime, death, and pride haunted these characters, and audiences felt connected to these super heroes as people.

8. The :
It's not Pirates Of The Caribbean 2, it's Pirate's Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.  It's not Ice Age 3, it's Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs.  It's not G.I. Joe, it's G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra.  For some reason, in the 2000s, Hollywood decided that people didn't like short titles, and that they hated numbers in the titles of their sequels.  The colon provided the perfect solution.

9. The Increasingly Globalized Cinema
It's a slow process, but the movies started to represent the rest of the world, other than America, during the past decade.  While American-made movies like Babel and Crash emphasized diversity, international movies began to find an audience as well.  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon found major success in America, and Amelie, Pan's Labyrinth, and The Motorcycle Diaries found smaller, but substantial grosses for foreign language films.  On top of that, Mexican directors like Alfonso Quaron, Guillermo Del Toro, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu garnered major attention, and foreign actors like Javier Bardem (Spain) and Marion Cotillard (France) received Academy Awards for their work.

10. Movies Open Bigger And Fall Harder
Films used to play in theaters for months at a time, earning steady revenue throughout their runs.  These days, films have larger debuts, and then quickly fizzle out.  You're lucky to find a movie playing in theaters six weeks after it debuts, and that's because films now make most of their money in the first two weeks.  The 2000s gave birth to the mega-opening weekend, and though it would have once seemed impossible for a film to break the $100 million threshold on its opening weekend, such occurrences are now almost commonplace.  The bigger a movie opens, though, the faster it is likely to fall.  Movies like Cloverfield, Hulk, and Scary Movie 4, which appealed to fanboys and young people, each opened well, but fell very hard.  The opening weekend accounted for 50%, 47%, and 45% of their final grosses, respectively.

11. R-Rated Comedies And The Frat Pack
Raunchy, crass, and often just plain wrong, the 2000s brought back the irreverent R-rated comedy in a big way.  The breakout success of both Wedding Crashers and Judd Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin in 2005 launched a string of comedies that weren't afraid to be lewd, brutally honest, and foul-mouthed.  Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, Superbad, and I Love You, Man have all ridden the wave of R-rated comedy popularity.  These films have also helped to establish the Frat Pack, the group of male actors that typically appear in these films, including Vince Vaughan, Seth Rogen, Owen Wilson, Steve Carell, Jonah Hill, and Paul Rudd.

12. Pixar
This animation studio has more namebrand credibility than any other studio in the world.  Of its ten films, (Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Wall-E, and Up) every single one has been a financial and critical darling.  Pixar places quality high above quantity, which is why the studio only produces one amazing film per year.  Their popularity and talent are undeniable, which is why Disney purchased the company for $7.4 billion in 2006. 

13. Ballooning Budgets
 In the 2000s, film frugality was thrown out the window.  For most of the decade, studios frivolously spent millions upon millions of dollars on their films.  With the international and home markets now accounting for a major additional chunk of a film's revenue, studios were willing to shell out absurd amounts of money.  Paramount invested $130 million in Sahara, Warner Brothers forked over $165 million for The Polar Express, Sony gave $200 million for Spider-Man 2, Universal was willing to shell out $207 million on King Kong, and Fox spent $237 million on Avatar.  The recession is now forcing studios to balance their checkbooks, but for most of the decade, budgets were overblown and enormous.

14. More Previews Before Movies
 It used to be that a movie would have three previews before the feature presentation.  That's all changed in the last ten years.  Before a high profile release, you're likely to see six or seven previews, as well as Fandango commercial or two.  You can get to the theater twenty minutes late and not miss a second of the feature presentation.

15. If At First You Don't Succeed, REBOOT
Some franchises simply don't break out, and some other fail over time.  But if there's one thing that the 2000s have taught us, it's that just because a movie fails, doesn't mean it will always fail- you just have to reboot it!  Why wait so long to rebuild a franchise from square one?  Instead, reboot the franchise completely.  New actors, new storyline, new everything.  Capitalizing on our short attention spans, studios attempted to make what didn't work in the past work in the present.  When Batman And Robin disappointed fans in 1997, Warner Brothers gave them a new Batman eight years later in Batman Begins.  When Hulk didn't break out in 2003, the rebooted The Incredible Hulk came out in 2008.  When Vin Diesel and Paul Walker wouldn't come back for a third The Fast And The Furious film, Universal attempted to relanuch the franchise with Tokyo Drift.  When that film didn't succeed, Universal re-re-launched their franchise with its original cast in 2009's Fast And Furious.

16. VHS Out, DVD In
Ten years ago, in the car after soccer practice, I remember my dad trying to explain the concept of DVDs to me.  "It's basically a video tape on a CD," he said.  It's hard to believe that at the turn of the century, VHS was the standard video format, for DVDs assault on the home market was swift and effective.  Less swift was the drawn-out battle betwen HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, though Blu-Ray has finally emerged as the winner.  DVDs are small, easy to navigate, and can hold loads of special features, which offer a fun home viewing experience. Overall, it's just a better format.

17. 3D
My personal opinion aside, the 3D format really took off in the late 2000s.  Most studios have contributed quite a bit of funding to the craze, collectively helping theater owners buy the expensive 3D projectors that can show these films.  They're willing to do this because they are confident in the format and because there's a ton of money to be made.  To be clear, there's a lot of upfront costs, both on the production and distribution sides of 3D, but charging premium ticket prices for 3D films inflates grosses quickly.  That helps both theaters and studios.  With IMAX, Dolby Digitial 3D, and Real-D all available, only time will tell which format will become the most popular.  

18. Torture-Porn Horror
2004 brought us a small Lionsgate horror movie called Saw, which featured gruesome, brutal torture and death scenes.  The film became a minor hit, and not only has it produced six sequels, but it created a sub-genre popularly called "torture-porn" that dominated horror movies in the 2000s.  Unlike the supernatural brand of horror in The Ring or The Grudge, torture-porn films, like Hostel, The Hills Have Eyes, Saw I-VI, and The Strangers seemed to appeal to the barbaric side of humanity, since they offered up disgusting, extreme violence as entertainment.  Despite the fact that few films outside the Saw franchise (which has seen major diminishing returns) were successful, torture-porn became the norm during the 2000s.

19. Cell Phones Invade Movie Theaters
That obnoxious ring in the middle of your movie?  A cell phone.  The distracting glare coming from your neighbor? A cell phone.  That unbearable texting noise that steals your attention away from the story?  A cell phone!  The introduction of cell phones into society has left theater owners scratching their heads, trying to figure out how to enforce courtesy in the theater.  I'll admit it- sometimes I take out my phone to check what time it is, but after the countless reminders to silence your cell phone at the beginning of the movie, I have little patience for a loud ring.

20. Christmas Apparently Starts In November
Just as May marks the start of Summer at the box office, studios are eager to establish the first two weeks of November as the beginning of the Christmas season.  Attempting to maximize the window of time in which these films can make money, studios release them early on, hoping they'll endure throughout November and December.  This strategy was employed for the releases of The Santa Clause 2, Elf, The Polar Express, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, Fred Claus, and A Christmas Carol. Audiences haven't totally bought into this trend, as many of these films have seen lackluster results, and in this box office analysts opinion, studios would be better off doing what Four Christmases did in 2008: releasing Christmas movies a little closer to Christmas! Crazy, right?

21. Return Of The Musical
The resurgence of the musical film started with Best Picture winner Chicago in 2002.  The film's $170 million gross showed that the genre still had some life in it.  The musical film hit the big leagues in early 2006, though.  Disney Channel's High School Musical indoctrinated a brand new generation into the world of musicals, and it created a mini-phenomenon.  Since then, Dreamgirls, Hairspray, High School Musical 3: Senior Year, and Mamma Mia! have all had very successful theatrical runs.

22. Dogs
We live in a world where people often exhibit more sympathy for animals than they do for their fellow humans.  Thus, it is perhaps fitting that man's best friend has arisen as a true box office star in the 2000s.  Scooby Doo, Marley And Me, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Cats And Dogs, Eight Below, Snow Dogs, and Hotel For Dogs were all box office hits, proving that canines could really pack audiences into theaters.  We've come a long way since the days of Air Bud, haven't we?

23. Michael Bay And Jerry Bruckheimer
These super-producers have a knack for churning out widely appealing, eye-popping, special effects-filled, hugely popular movies, and they helped create some of the decade's biggest films and franchises.  Bruckheimer is the man behind Black Hawk Down, Pirates Of The Caribbean, National Treasure, and the hugely popular CSI television series.  Meanwhile, Bay, notorious amongst critics for placing explosions above story, is the brains behind Transformers, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Bad Boys II, and Pearl Harbor, which Bruckheimer also produced.  They may not be winning any awards from critics, but these men know how to deliver at the box office.

24. Three Is A Magic Number
Every other franchise in the 2000s seemed to be a trilogy.  The Lord Of The Rings movies set the precedent, kicking off the decade with a one-two-three punch of greatness.  Other franchises hoped to do the same, but none could live up to the quality of Peter Jackson's achievement.  Still, there were a number of extremely lucrative franchises that put out three films in the 2000s.  Spider-Man, Shrek, Pirates Of The Caribbean, Austin Powers, The Santa Clause, Ice Age, and X-Men all delivered their stories over the course of three movies.

25. Critics Matter Less, But Everyone's A Critic!
During the 2000s, as the print industry has crumbled, the internet has simultaneously provided people with more information than they could ever need.  No longer do most people read their local critic's movie reviews in the newspaper.  Instead, they can go to RottenTomatoes or MetaCritic and look at a numerical average rating for the film.  Indeed, despite the fact that people rely on these review-aggregators more than thorough individual reviews, there has never been a time in film history when more film reviews were produced.  Every blogger, YouTuber, or message board commenter can weigh in with their own opinion on any film, and it's a fascinating to me how the internet has transformed film criticism.  Like most everything else, it's democratized the process.

Phew! Did you make it all the way down here?  What do you think of the list?  Agree?  Disagree?  Got anything to add?  Let me hear your thoughts in the Comments!

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DVD Sales: Let's Get Caught "Up"

on Tuesday, December 29, 2009   1 comments


It's Tuesday, which means it's time for DVD Sales!  I know these posts have been a bit inconsistent for the past few weeks.  The-Numbers, which, in addition to being a great site, provides the most reliable DVD Sales figures on the web, has this message posted on their DVD Sales section:
DVD sales reports will be delayed over the Holidays. Our next weekly report, for the week ending December 6, will be published on Wednesday, December 31. The report for the week ending December 13 will be published on Friday, January 2. We will return to our usual schedule the week of January 5.
Thus, while things have been backed up this month, you can expect the regular DVD Sales posts next Tuesday, or perhaps the weekend after that, depending on when The-Numbers posts its figures.  But let's get to the actual chart.  The end of November began to reveal the Christmas-Effect on the home market.  Many movies popped back onto the chart after months away, no doubt fueled by special Black Friday deals.  Christmas themed movies also hopped back into the Top 30, as viewers bought, bought, bough to get into the Christmas spirit.  After all, consumption is what the holiday is about, right?  Keep reading for my DVD Sales Notes, along with the DVD Sales Chart.

DVD Sales Notes:

-Pixar's most recent masterpiece, Up, fell hard in its second week (as most every movie does), but it was up a big 34.8% in its third week, selling 1.2 million copies for $17.5 million in revenue.  That brings Up's totals to 6.1 million units sold, and a fantastic $101.4 million gross.  I'm excited to see how many copies it sold over the past four weeks.  Did it break 10 million?  Guess we'll find out soon enough!

-The Dark Knight, almost a full year after its release, is still flexing its box office muscle in a big, big way, selling 1.2 million copies for an extra $5.6 million.  You can tell that this must have been a major Black Friday deal, for The Dark Knight sold about the same amount of DVDs as Up, yet it earned less than a third of the revenue!  Still, with $230 million in DVD revenue, you know Warner Brothers isn't complaining.

-For a film that grossed $133 million in theaters, Angels And Demons had a fairly inauspicious debut, selling 826,649 copies for $12.3 million in sales.  Funny People was more unimpressive, though, moving just 195,893 units for a paltry $3.5 million in first week sales.  Both these films debuted on November 24th, giving them five days to register on the chart, but that's not a totally valid excuse for the poor performances.  Christmastime demand should have people buying, but I guess both films were simply undesirable for consumers, and if people don't like it, they won't buy it!

-Doing much better in its opening weekend was Disney's direct-to-DVD release, Santa Buddies.  Now, if you have heard of this puppy movie, you either watch Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, or you have an awesome 7-year-old sister that keeps you up-to-date on what's hot amongst the elementary school crowd. Well advertised to it target demographic, Santa Buddies did very well in its first week, earning $14.2 million from a solid 970,796 copies sold.  Another point for the dogs!

-Santa Buddies was just one of the many Christmas-themed titles on the chart.  Another newcomer, Four Christmases, which was in theaters this time a year ago, started its DVD run with $10.2 million in first week sales.  Meanwhile, Elf, The Polar Express, The Holiday, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation all re-entered the Top 30.  Look for more Christmas titles in the weeks to come.  The full chart is below.


DVD Sales Chart for the Week Ending November 29, 2009
Rank
Title
Units this Week
% Chg
Total Units
Sales this Week
Total Sales
Wks
1
Up
1,222,384
34.8%
6,098,741
$17,504,539
$101,385,399
3
2
Dark Knight, The
1,210,786
-.-%
14,212,315
$5,581,723
$230,020,313
51
3
Santa Buddies
970,796
-.-%
970,796
$14,775,515
$14,775,515
1
4
Angels And Demons
826,649
-.-%
826,649
$12,383,202
$12,383,202
1
5
Four Christmases
714,237
-.-%
714,237
$10,199,304
$10,199,304
1
6
Star Trek
713,854
-80.1%
4,297,113
$7,559,714
$60,562,206
2
7
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
691,040
-.-%
7,739,907
$4,332,821
$106,999,427
43
8
Elf
501,903
-.-%
-
$4,271,195
-
263
9
Paul Blart: Mall Cop
499,226
-.-%
3,340,978
$3,309,868
$50,119,070
28
10
Sex and the City - The Movie
458,213
-.-%
4,427,183
$3,972,707
$84,038,667
62
11
Happy Feet
393,060
-.-%
12,766,094
$4,414,064
$203,169,841
140
12
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
370,883
-.-%
1,785,744
$2,451,537
$29,145,295
61
13
Transformers
351,510
-.-%
16,055,535
$3,427,223
$290,277,403
111
14
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
349,089
-.-%
-
$6,060,185
-
425
15
Monsters vs. Aliens
346,412
339.4%
4,431,584
$3,477,976
$73,790,110
9
16
Polar Express, The
316,971
276.4%
-
$3,074,619
-
205
17
Holiday, The
313,785
-.-%
4,998,760
$1,835,642
$71,017,758
142
18
Baby Mama
299,001
-.-%
1,513,330
$2,598,319
$23,848,720
64
19
Notebook, The
243,049
-.-%
-
$2,119,387
-
251
20
Kung Fu Panda
232,296
-.-%
8,888,931
$1,489,017
$131,290,009
55
21
Tale of Despereaux, The
218,324
-.-%
1,606,572
$1,633,064
$25,033,534
34
22
My Sister's Keeper
214,373
-57.8%
722,837
$2,645,363
$10,846,887
2
23
Funny People
195,893
-.-%
195,893
$3,498,649
$3,498,649
1
24
Made of Honor
191,304
-.-%
998,425
$2,184,692
$14,219,878
63
25
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
191,049
-.-%
-
$1,862,728
-
628
26
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
190,540
-.-%
2,504,210
$805,984
$43,427,479
55
27
Goonies, The
186,971
-.-%
-
$1,306,927
-
432
28
P.S., I Love You
178,304
-.-%
1,859,448
$1,725,983
$28,606,755
82
29
Race to Witch Mountain
173,843
-.-%
1,785,489
$3,767,178
$33,017,984
17
30
The Proposal
172,059
40.4%
4,056,878
$2,013,090
$66,480,544
7

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New(s) And News: Avatar Sequel, Marvin The Martian, And Even More Obnoxious 3D! Make It Stop!

on Monday, December 28, 2009   7 comments


This past weekend, Friday fell on Christmas Day, which led to some very great business at the box office.  This weekend, Friday falls on New Years Day, which should also lead to some strong results, for this year, the Top 12 saw an average increase of about 65% on New Years Day, and it fell on a Thursday.  Thus, it might seem like a great idea for studios to capitalize on the big day at the box office and release movies on Friday.  However, this week is one of those rare ones at the movies, when no new wide releases are hitting theaters.  I guess everyone was scared off by the massive competition of last weekend, and based on the record-setting results, maybe that was a good idea.  Furthermore, no Oscar bait is debuting on Friday, since the deadline for Oscar consideration is at the end of 2009.    Normally, on Mondays I call this column New and News, but it looks like I'll have to rename it News and News this time!  That being said, the holidays have led to a rather slow news week, so I've really had to search to find articles that I found interesting enough to pass along.  Keep reading to check 'em out!

Avatar 2 Plot Rumors And Speculation
Will the sequel travel to another moon of Polyphemus?  Will we see the interior core of Pandora?  Will we get to see the destroyed remnants of Earth?  So much speculation- it's hard to keep track.  SlashFilm put together a great post that sorts things out quite nicely.  I'm already getting excited, so I'm guessing the wait for Avatar 2 is going to feel very long!

Hollywood Will Keep Forcing 3D Upon Us...
I just don't get it!  Am I the only person not on board the 3D train?! People, Hollywood is trying to fool all of us into believing that 3D is incredible.  Why? Because they can force us to pay for $15 tickets instead of $10 tickets!  I don't want more 3D!  I really don't!  Collider reports that movies, both new and old, are getting the 3D treatment in 2010.  (sigh) I'm not amused.

Marvin The Martian Invading In 2011 (Probably in 3D, Right?)
According to the LA Times, the classic Looney Tunes character is getting the film treatment, and under the direction of Alex Zamm, Warner Brothers is hoping to have Marvin The Martian on screens around Christmas 2011, for the story follows Marvin's quest to destroy Christmas.  The film will be a mix of CG and live action, a la Alvin And The Chipmunks, so I'm hoping they can pull off the animation a little LOT more artfully.

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Weekend Fix: Avatar, Sherlock Lead The Largest Weekend In Film History! Top 12 Earned $275 Million!

on Sunday, December 27, 2009   14 comments


What an amazing way to end the incredible year of 2009!  The box office was firing on all cylinders for the past three days, and Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, and Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakuel led the pack easily, earning about $190 million between altogether.  Add in the rest of the movies, and we have a record weekend at the box office!  The Top 12 grossed an astonishing $264 million over the weekend frame- the largest weekend in film history!  It even beats 2008's $260.3 million weekend, when The Dark Knight and Hancock topped the chart!  Newcomer It's Complicated opened solidly, and major expansion Up In The Air lived up to its buzz.  The only real failure of the weekend was the musical Nine, which found a paltry $5.4 million.  Stilll, that's a minor blemish in an otherwise fantastic weekend!  Watch the video above for my take on this record-setting Christmas weekend, and then check out the Weekend Estimates below:

Top 12 Box Office Hits For December 25-27, 2009
Rank
Movie
Studio
Theaters
Weekend
Chg
AVG.
Total
1
Avatar
Fox
3452
$75,000,000
-3%
$21,701
$212,268,053
2
Sherlock Holmes
Warner Bros
3475
$65,380,000
New
$18,031
$65,380,000
3
Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Fox
3407
$50,200,000
New
$13,568
$77,051,277
4
It's Complicated
Universal
2718
$22,114,420
New
$7,663
$22,114,420
5
Up In The Air
Paramount
3035
$11,755,000
266%
$6,203
$24,518,000
6
The Blind Side
Warner Bros
2125
$11,730,000
17%
$4,241
$184,387,000
7
The Princess And The Frog
Disney
2070
$8,683,000
-29%
$2,499
$63,357,000
8
Nine
Weinstein
175
$5,544,000
New
$3,926
$5,922,000
9
Did You Hear About The Morgans?
Sony
2009
$5,000,000
-24%
$1,840
$15,597,000
10
Invictus
Warner Bros
2630
$4,390,000
4%
$2,032
$23,365,000
11
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Summit
2242
$3,000,000
-32%
$1,883
$280,923,522
12
A Christmas Carol
Disney
1538
$1,356,000
-61%
$1,089
$135,952,000
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

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Friday Estimates: Sherlock And Avatar Both Earn $24 Million On Christmas Day! Who's Gonna Win?

on Saturday, December 26, 2009   11 comments


What a weekend this is shaping up to be! I did not expect Sherlock Holmes to garner these sorts of huge numbers, but the Guy Ritchie reboot has found a major audience on Christmas Day.  The detective/action hero movie found a massive $24 $25 million on Friday, but will it be able to hold off Avatar, which earned the same amount, over the rest of the weekend?  I don't think so...

It's a bit hard to say how movies will do over the rest of the weekend because there hasn't been a Christmas Day on a Friday in about twenty years. On top of that, the trend of going to the movies on Christmas is relatively recent- it wasn't always a huge day at the box office! Now, it's one of the biggest of the year! That being said, speculating about the box office is what I do best, so here's my take on the weekend:


Avatar has already been out for a week, so the die-hard fans have had their chance to see it. On top of that, the word-of-mouth is amazing.  (Even my grandparents were talking about it yesterday!) Therefore, it should see a more typical Saturday box office increase than Sherlock Holmes will. If Avatar see's a 2.9 weekend multiplier (reduced because of the Christmas Day bump), it will earn a fantastic $70 million this weekend. Sherlock Holmes can probably manage a 2.6 multiplier, which would give the flick a pretty great $64 million start.

That movie about chipmunks (I won't mention its name) managed to steal $12 million worth of tickets from the American public, which, let's be honest, is a travesty. After grossing $27 million on Wednesday and Thursday, a weekend of $37 million is probably in order. That makes me very sad, especially because it knocked The Princess And The Frog's box office down to just $2 million on Friday. Disney isn't happy, I'm sure.


But the movies weren't totally dominated by young people this weekend! Adult fare did pretty well too! It's Complicated earned $7.5 million on Friday, and the Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin rom-com could see $22 million over the weekend. That's certainly better than Did You Hear About The Morgans? did last weekend. Up In The Air, riding high on awards buzz, grossed $4 million in its first Friday in wide release. A $12 million weekend should result. Nine failed to really break out on Friday, grossing just $2.2 million. Perhaps it was the mixed reviews that did Nine in, or maybe it was the fact that the advertisements failed to explain what this movie was about. Either way, a $6 million weekend isn't anything to sing about. Check out the full Friday box office chart below, and for more box office updates, follow me on Twitter!

Early Friday Estimates for December 25, 2009
1. Sherlock Holmes - $24 million
2. Avatar - $24 million
3. Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakuel - $12 million
4. It's Complicated - $7.5 million
5. Up In The Air - $4 million
6. The Blind Side - $4 million
7. Nine - $2.2 million
8. The Princess And The Frog - $2 million
9. Did You Hear About The Morgans - $1.6 million
10. Invictus - $1.3 million

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Merry Christmas From Avatar!

on Thursday, December 24, 2009   7 comments


It's Christmas Eve, and the Christmas spirit has just reached a peak in my mind.  Why?  Well, because I just saw Avatar, of course!  Now, you may be asking why Avatar (which just passed the $300 million mark worldwide, by the way) would ever put someone in the Christmas spirit, and if you're a little bit confused, just watch the video above!  I hope you enjoy it- consider it my Christmas gift to all you fantastic readers!  Have an amazing Christmas!

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6 December Movies That Had Poor Box Office Starts, But Major Legs

on Wednesday, December 23, 2009   5 comments


I'm about to go see Avatar, so I'll have to keep this post short and sweet.  Movies released in December are a breed of their own.  Because students are out of school and many adults are off of work for the last half of December, movies released during the month often see smaller opening weekends, for people feel no need to rush out to the box office and see them.  Most movies released during the year have a multiplier of about 3.0, which means the total gross was three times higher than the opening weekend.  During the holidays, however, every day is like the weekend, and movies will have multipliers of 4, 5, 6 or even higher!  Many films will open with alarmingly poor numbers, but actually go on to see some very nice grosses.  That's why I'm not too concerned about the initially low grosses for The Princess And The Frog.  Over the Sunday-to-Monday period, the film dropped just 23% to $2.9 million, and it should continue to perform strongly during weekdays for the next two weeks.  Thus, because it is List Wednesday, let's look at six recent movies that had seemingly poor box office starts, but went on to see much more solid box office finishes.

1. Cheaper By The Dozen 2 (December 21, 2005)

Opening Weekend: $9.3 million
Total Gross: $82.9 million
Multiplier: 8.9

2. Fun With Dick And Jane (December 21, 2005)

Opening Weekend: $14.4 million
Total Gross: $110.3 million
Multiplier: 7.6

3. Rumor Has It (December 25, 2005)

Opening Weekend: $3.5 million
Total Gross: $43 million
Multiplier: 12.3!
**This "opening weekend" was just one day long.

4. Charlotte's Web (December 15, 2006)

Opening Weekend: $11.5 million
Total Gross: $83 million
Mulitplier: 7.2

5. P.S. I Love You

Opening Weekend: $6.5 million
Total Gross: $53.7 million
Mulitplier: 8.3

6. Charlie Wilson's War

Opening Weekend: $9.7 million
Total Gross: $66.7 million
Mulitplier: 6.9

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New And News: Maybe Sherlock Can Figure It Out- Why Do People Like Alvin And The Chipmunks?

on Monday, December 21, 2009   5 comments


It's Monday, which means it's time for New And News, where I preview this week's new releases and highlight some of my favorite news stories over the past week.  Since it is the week of Christmas, Hollywood has decided to give American theaters a whole bunch of presents: three new wide releases debut on Christmas Day, and two other films will see major wide release expansions.  We've got grandiose musicals, detective superheroes, animated chipmunks, elderly affairs, and a whole lot of frequent flyer miles to talk about.  And that's just the New!  Let's get started...

New:

Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Fox) - 3,700 theaters - Reviews
The fact that the original Alvin And The Chipmunks earned $244 million in 2007 is so unbelievable to me, that I almost don't want to talk about it.  I'm usually all about the middle-American, widely appealing movies, but I just can't get behind these one-joke, gimmicky, poorly animated films.  The trailer for this one features more high-pitched chipmunk voices, dancing girl chipmunks, and utterly inconsequential plot lines.  I try to be impartial, but I'm truly hoping this will under-perform.  Bah humbug!

Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros) - 3,600 theaters - Reviews

Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, and Rachel McAdams star in this Guy Ritchie new adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic detective.  Warner Brothers is clearly hoping to launch a major franchise here, as they've re-imagined Sherlock as an action hero.  A hefty $80 million was spent on the film, and despite buzz amongst movie buffs, I get the feeling Sherlock Holmes probably won't break out the way the studio is hoping.  (It looks a little bit too much like Van Helsing...)  Reviews are solid, though, and I would love to see this take down the chipmunks.

It's Complicated (Universal) - 2,800 theaters - Reviews

Any time an actress above the age of 50 gets a role, I'm happy.  It's simply not fair that older women aren't represented at the box office.  Unfortunately for most older actresses, though, Meryl Streep takes 98% of these roles.  It's Complicated follows Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep, a bitterly divorced couple.  Over time, Baldwin marries a much younger woman, and Streep begins dating Steve Martin.  The comedy in this movie comes when Streep, in a drunken state, ends up sleeping with her ex-husband, which begins an extended affair with him!  The concept is absolutely fantastic, so I wish the reviews were a bit better, but on the heels of Did You Hear About The Morgans?'s poor performance, It's Complicated should provide a better choice romantic comedy fans.

Up In The Air (Paramount) - 1,800 theaters - Reviews

George Clooney stars as a jet-setting business man who spends most of his life in the air, but his life changes when he finds himself suddenly smitten with a fellow traveler, Vera Farmiga.  Riding the wave of awards buzz, this has done very well in limited release thus far, having already earned almost $9 million in limited release.  With a major expansion on Friday, I'd expect Up In The Air to about double its total this weekend.

Nine (Weinstein) - 1,500 theaters - Reviews

Rob Marshall, director of Chicago and Dreamgirls, brings Nine, yet another musical, to the screen.  With a cast that is adored by Hollywood, featuring Daniel Day Lewis, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, and Fergie, the movie world is extremely excited about Nine.  However, reviews are below average, and the ads have given absolutely no sense of the story.  Like so much of Marshall's work, this looks more about style than substance.  I'm not thinking this will be be a major box office success.

News:

Bryan Singer Returning for X-Men: First Class
I was crushed when the director of X-Men and X2: X-Men United decided not to direct X-Men: The Last Stand... we were so close to having a great trilogy! Thankfully, though, Bryan Singer has decided to direct the latest Marvel spinoff, X-Men: First Class.  I can't wait!

Clash Of The Titans Reshooting... Possibly In 3D?!
Reshoots usually mean a movie is not good.  Adding 3D effects is often nothing more than a desperate attempt to make more money.  Therefore, when news comes out that Warner Brothers' Clash Of The Titans is reshooting and attempting to add 3D to a movie just six months before its release, it tells me that this movie is destined to be a disaster. 

The Hangover 2 To Be Set In Thailand
After coming out of nowhere and earning an amazing $277 million this Summer, The Hangover was all but guaranteed to have a sequel.  CHUD reports that the next film will probably take place in Thailand, taking up a storyline that wasn't used in Old School 2, which never saw the light of day.

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Weekend Fix: Avatar Lives Up To Some Very High Expectations

on Sunday, December 20, 2009   7 comments


The videos are back, and just in time for one super-buzzed-about debut!  Avatar did extremely well this weekend, earning a big $73 million, a number that surely could have been higher if a snowstorm hadn't slammed the East coast.  Still, it managed to grab one of the highest December openings of all time, so the Fox spectacle is in good shape.  Meanwhile, Did You Hear About The Morgans? failed to engage moviegoers, finding just $7 million, and Disney's The Princess And The Frog had a rather alarming 50% drop to $12.2 million.  Hopefully, this was due to the blizzard, but only time will tell if the 2D film can endure throughout the holidays.  Up In The Air fared much better, thanks to some major awards attention. It soared to $3.1 million out of just 175 theaters. Even though most holdovers saw some rather hefty declines, Avatar's big debut propelled the Top 12 to a cumulative $125.6 million, 55% higher than the same weekend last year. There's lots to talk about, so go ahead and watch the video above for my full recap, and then click inside for the full box office chart below.

Top 12 Box Office Hits For December 18-20, 2009
Rank
Movie
Studio
Theaters
Weekend
Chg
AVG.
Total
1
Avatar
Fox
3452
$73,000,000
New
$21,147
$73,000,000
2
The Princess And The Frog
Disney
3475
$12,224,000
-50%
$3,518
$44,756,000
3
The Blind Side
Warner Bros
3407
$10,030,000
-33%
$2,944
$164,734,000
4
Did You Hear About The Morgans?
Sony
2718
$7,000,000
New
$2,575
$7,000,000
5
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Summit
3035
$4,370,000
-45%
$1,440
$274,560,721
6
Invictus
Warner Bros
2125
$4,170,000
-52%
$1,962
$15,845,000
7
A Christmas Carol
Disney
2070
$3,419,000
-50%
$1,652
$130,789,000
8
Up In The Air
Paramount
175
$3,100,000
29%
$17,714
$8,106,000
9
Brothers
Lionsgate
2009
$2,630,000
-48%
$1,309
$22,090,000
10
Old Dogs
Disney
2630
$2,289,000
-48%
$870
$43,574,000
11
2012
Sony
2242
$2,150,000
-51%
$959
$158,974,000
12
Armored
Sony
1538
$1,225,000
-65%
$796
$14,195,000
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

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Friday Estimates: Avatar Finds $27 Million On First Day, But May Struggle For Rest Of Weekend

on Saturday, December 19, 2009   1 comments


I'm sorry.  I know I said I'd be backed to regular posting, but my house at school got broken into and robbed last night, and that's distracted me for the better part of the day.  I wish I had been more present for the first half of this, one of the biggest weekends of the year, and I apologize, but sometimes life throws you a curveball.  And that's exactly what life is throwing at the box office this weekend.  After a strong opening day of $27 million for Avatar, a massive snowstorm hit the East coast, which will certainly limit box office prospects for the rest of the weekend.  Avatar should end up with about $70 million for the weekend, and based on the superb word-of-mouth, and the Christmas holiday, in which all students are now out of school, we're looking at a spectacle that's sure to have great legs in the coming weeks.  When it comes to Did You Hear About The Morgans? the resounding answer from American audiences is "No."  The romantic comedy only managed to find $2.4 million yesterday.  Keep on reading for the full Friday chart, and then check back here tomorrow for the Weekend Fix!  I haven't made a video in over a week, so I'm excited!

Friday Estimates for December 18, 2009
1. Avatar - $27 million
2. The Princess And The Frog - $3.4 million
3. The Blind Side - $3.2 million
4. Did You Hear About The Morgans? - $2.4 million
5. The Twilight Saga: New Moon - $1.4 million
6. Invictus - $1.3 million
7. A Christmas Carol - $951,000
8. Up In The Air - $925,000
9. Brothers - $880,000
10. Old Dogs - $709,000

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Weekend Preview: Avatar Is Finally Here! But Don't Forget The Morgans!

on Friday, December 18, 2009   6 comments



Alright, because I love you all (and because I am really tired of studying for this exam), I'm going to break my self-inflicted silence and give you two quick box office predictions for Avatar and Did You Hear About The Morgans?.

Avatar
Fanboy demand means people want to see this right away.  The holidays, however have the opposite effect, and while they inflate grosses in the long run, they soften openings.  Thus, the sci-fi epic should have a solid, but not mind-blowing debut.  Still, with great reviews and pervasive media exposure, this has very effectively turned around its early negative buzz.  People, self-included, are genuinely excited to see Avatar.  I'll give James Cameron's Na'vi spectacle a $68 million opening weekend.

Did You Hear About The Morgans?
The reviews are horrendous, but I actually think the trailer for this romantic comedy was great.  It's got a clear female appeal, so it should act as counter-programming to Avatar, and it's going after a middle-American crowd with the simple theme of country vs. city.  Critics may hate it, but I think that a large percentage of America likes this kind of story!  Other analysts are saying this won't even break $10 million, but I think that's ridiculous.  Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant are both solid draws within this genre.  A $16 million weekend seems about right to me.

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Weekend Preview: Princess And The Frog Should Leap To #1; Delays...

on Friday, December 11, 2009   15 comments



My predictions are at the tail end of the video, but that's all I've got for now. I really need to work. After a week of real-world work, I'll re-focus here. Thanks for being patient, guys.

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Avatar Is Good! I Knew It!!!

on Thursday, December 10, 2009   5 comments


Alright, I usually don't do posts like this, but I am just giddy with excitement!  RottenTomatoes finally has a Tomatometer for Avatar, and from the seven reviews so far, the James Cameron feature sounds dazzling and incredible!  The more of this movie I've seen, the better it has looked, and it appears that the whole movie is awesome!  Honestly, no great director works on a movie for 16 years and makes something bad!  After some unenthusiastic early buzz from audiences, who claimed the film looked too much like a video game, things were looking bad for Avatar, but if there's one thing that is going to help this film's box office, it's going to be it's quality, so this is a very good sign.  Look at what some critics are saying, and then tell me if you're as excited as I am in the comments.

The screen is alive with more action and the soundtrack pops with more robust music than any dozen sci-fi shoot-'em-ups you care to mention.
-Kirk Honeycutt (Hollywood Reporter)
It’s a world, not to give too much away, that Cameron clearly fully intends to return to and further explore. When he does, our bags are already packed.
-Chris Hewitt (Empire Magazine)
Avatar is an overwhelming, immersive spectacle. The state-of-the-art 3D technology draws us in, but it is the vivid weirdness of Cameron’s luridly imagined tropical otherworld that keeps us fascinated.
-Wendy Ide (Times)
It's a 3D movie people will look back on in years to come to comment on how it transformed cinema.
-The Sneak (Sun Online)

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Ranking The Disney Princesses

on Wednesday, December 09, 2009   29 comments


As I'm sure you already know, Disney's newest princess movie, The Princess And The Frog is coming out this Friday, and it's got everyone quite excited.  Everyone wants to see Walt Disney Studios return to their traditional fairy tale storytelling, but I have a different motive for seeing this movie.  I'm ready to judge Tiana and rank her in my Disney Princess standings.  You see, I'm still on the market for my future wife, and while I'm waiting to find her, sometimes I like to consider which of the Disney princesses would make the best Mrs. Grady Smith.  Yea, you read that right: I sometimes imagine which of the Disney princesses I'd most like to marry.  Does that make me weird?  Probably.  Do I care?  Not at all.  Thus, because it is List Wednesday, allow me to present you with my rankings of Disney's most eligible princesses.  Afterwards, let me hear your rankings in the comments.  And, no, Mulan is not a princess.

6. Sleeping Beauty
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz











5. Ariel
 I'm not looking for a chatterbox, but she doesn't say anything.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
4. Jasmine

She dresses a little slutty for my taste...











3. Snow White
A bit boring, but a sweet, innocent, good girl.











2. Cinderella

Even if she is a social climber, I like a working girl.










1. Belle

Beautiful, intelligent, and she looks at what's on the inside.  Perfect.

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